TV is the villain of this piece, which means to help parents make informed decisions about their children's viewing habits....



TV is the villain of this piece, which means to help parents make informed decisions about their children's viewing habits. Informational chapters thoroughly document the ill-effects of the tube; but, despite the lengthy presentation, suggestions for action at home, at school, and in the public sector are meager. Several themes featured in Marie Winn's The Plug-in Drug (1977)--TV's detrimental effects on family life, on children's play and their school performance--are brought up-to-date with additional damning data. Moody also takes distressed note of the effect of TV on heavy-viewers' perceptions of reality (the world is full of hazards); TV's promotion of consumption as a way of life (more commercials on children's shows); the selling of poor nutrition (as much as 75 percent of a Saturday morning cartoon's advertising may be for sugary snacks). Parents will find, however, that Moody's suggestions for alternatives to TV demand both their time and devotion, and that her four strategies for limiting TV-time are largely restricted to anecdotal description. Ten criteria for evaluating the content of children's programs are far more helpful; they include such considerations as ""How are problems solved on the program?,"" ""What is the pace of the program?,"" and ""What is the child's response to particular programs and to cumulative viewing?"" Few programs, however, will measure up to Moody's tough standards--even cultural and informational programs receive no bouquets. She assigns the schools the task of teaching media literacy--which would include critical viewing, using TV as a common experience, and even producing programs in districts with studio facilities. But just how this might be accomplished isn't clear, since students haven't learned to read and can't sit still because they've been watching too much TV at home. . . . Suggestions for public action include letter-writing and joining groups--the usual activities for citizens concerned about any issue. Some new information, but also a great many old plaints.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Times Books

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1980